The freelance lifestyle offers a world of benefits. When you work for yourself, you get to call the shots rather than answer to a boss all the time, and you often get the ability to work from home or during the hours that are most convenient for you. Still, there's something to be said about working in an office and having colleagues to rely on and commiserate with day in and day out. Here are the top five things about office life today's freelancers miss the most, according to data from Porch.
1. That steady income
A reliable paycheck is more a function of being a salaried employee than working in an actual office, but it's an understandable thing to miss. An estimated 75.2% of freelancers still long for the days when they could sit back and wait for their pay to come in on a preset schedule.
If that lack of stability is getting you down, try building long-term relationships with a handful of clients who are likely to have ongoing work for you. Many freelancers operate on a project-by-project basis and don't always take the time to cultivate relationships, but if you focus on the latter, you might find a client who's willing to enter into a contract that guarantees a steadier workflow.
2. Having coworkers around
Missing the camaraderie of colleagues is something that impacts 49.9% of freelancers. That's why it pays to join a local professionals' network, even if it consists of self-employed individuals from different fields. Many of these groups hold regular meetups and events that allow you to connect with folks in a similar situation, thereby eliminating some of the feelings of isolation many freelancers experience.
3. Feeling connected to colleagues
It's hard to feel a connection to others when you work independently. A good 43.9% of freelancers miss that connection to their former colleagues, but if you learn of other freelancers who work for the same clients you do, try getting to know them through channels like email, phone, or instant messaging. For example, if you do IT work remotely for a certain company and you know of someone else who does freelance marketing for that same firm, you can create your own little network that gives you the connection you're missing.
4. Being part of a team
It's difficult to feel like you're part of a team when you work solo, and 29.4% of freelancers miss that aspect of working in an office. But one thing you can do is seek out projects that allow you to collaborate with other freelancers. For example, if you're a writer tasked with developing content for a company's website, ask that client if it needs a web designer and marketer as well. If it does, find those people through your freelance network, and voila -- you're part of a team once again.
5. Company events
When you're a freelancer who works remotely, you don't tend to get invites to company holiday parties or annual picnics. An estimated 19.5% of freelancers miss those company events, but if you're willing to travel to them, don't be shy about asking to attend. Granted, you can't make that request for every client for whom you do a one-off project, but if there's a firm you've been working closely with for months, you might mention that you'd love to come in for its summer barbecue, where you can match some names to faces and get to know the folks who run the show.
As a freelancer, it's natural to miss some aspects of working in an office. But if you find yourself getting down, focus on the things you most likely don't miss, like that lengthy commute or cramped communal fridge that your lunch barely used to fit in. And remember, there's a reason you became a freelancer in the first place. Concentrate on that, and any negative feelings about your current setup are bound to dissipate rather quickly.